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Sociable knowledge sharing online: Philosophy, patterns and intervention

Matthews, Paul; Stephens, Robert



Purpose – This paper seeks to outline a social epistemological and ethical warrant for engaging in knowledge exchange on the social web, and to emphasise sociocognitive and emotional factors behind motivation and credibility in communities supported by social software. An attempt is made to identify positive and negative patterns of interaction from this perspective and to argue for more positive intervention on the part of the information profession. Design/methodology/approach – The paper outlines social epistemological and related theory, cognitive and social drivers of behaviour and then draws together evidence to justify the definition of patterns that will be important to the project. Research limitations/implications – A programme of evaluating online knowledge exchange behaviour using a social epistemological framework is needed. In order to do this, methodological development coupling formal epistemological with interpretive techniques for examining belief formation are also necessary. Practical implications – Considerations for the design and deployment of knowledge platforms and for engagement with existing communities are outlined. Social implications – The ideas presented attempt to define an important role for the information profession within a new paradigm of participation and social interaction online. Originality/value – The connection between social epistemology theory and LIS has long been appreciated, but social epistemology is rarely applied to practice or to online social platforms and communities. © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Stephens, R., Matthews, P., & Stephens, R. (2010). Sociable knowledge sharing online: Philosophy, patterns and intervention. Aslib Proceedings, 62(6), 539-553.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 23, 2010
Journal Aslib Proceedings
Print ISSN 0001-253X
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue 6
Pages 539-553
Keywords social epistemology, knowledge sharing, social cognition, information behaviour, information science
Public URL
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